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The Venue


RDS Music Bursary

At €15,000 the RDS Music Bursary is one of the largest single bursaries on offer to a young musician in Europe. Open to vocalists and instrumentalists, the Bursary assists young professional musicians to develop their career through further study at home or abroad or for the purchase of a musical instrument. In addition to the €15,000 Bursary, the winner also receives a professional performance engagement with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and an additional engagement in London with Irish Heritage – a voluntary arts organisation established in 1974 to promote young Irish classical musicians and composers in Great Britain.

The goal of the RDS Arts work programme is to provide a platform that supports the transition from student to emerging artist; encouraging the pursuit of a career in visual arts, crafts or music. Awarded on an annual basis since 2003, the RDS Music Bursary is open to winners of selected senior competitions in the ESB Feis Ceoil who are attending or have completed a third level music degree or are studying at  similar level with a recognised teacher in Ireland or abroad.The qualifying Feis Ceoil competitions are: the Morris Grant Bursary (Piano), Gervase Elwes Cup (Vocal), Mc Cullough Cup (Woodwind), Senior Brass Recital (Brass) and the Aileen Gore Cup (Strings).

The 2018 RDS Music Bursary interviews and presentation will take place in the RDS on 5 April. The judging panel will be chaired by John O'Kane, RTÉ Music & Arts Strategy Executive. The other members of the 20-18 panel are as follows: Edith Forrest (Feis Ceoil representative), Philip Dodd (RDS representative), Madeleine Staunton (RTÉ National Symphony representative) and Seámus Crimmins former music advisor to the Arts Council of Ireland.

The 2017 RDS Music Bursary winner was Soprano Sarah Brady from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. A recipient of a first class honours degree in Vocal Performance at The Royal Academy of Music with Mary Brennan. Sarah qualified for the Bursary by winning the Gervase Elwes Cup in the 2017 ESB Feis Ceoil. Sarah is pictured above with 2017 RDS Music Bursary Judging Panel (L-R : Annette Cleary, Madeleine Staunton, Philip Dodd, Sarah Brady, John O’Kane and Seamus Crimmins).

Thanks to the generous support of Tom and Ann Jago, 2017 saw the introduction of the RDS Jago Award, a second award of €5,000 awarded by the judging panel. As winner of this new award, Miriam Kaczor (flute) will also perform with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in the RDS Concert Hall in November 2018. Miriam qualified for the Bursary Interviewes by winning the Mc Cullough Cup in the 2017 ESB Feis Ceoil.

Former winners of the RDS Music Bursary have the chance to be selected for a new performance award which has been created thanks to the support of Michael and Loret O'Brien. The RDS Collins Memorial Performance Award is in association with the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (formerly Lismore Opera Festival). A previous RDS Music Bursary Winner will be selected annually by the Artistic Director of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and will be given a performance opportunity at the Festival which takes place in June in Lismore, Co. Waterford. The first recipient was violinist Patrick Rafter (2015 RDS Music Bursary winner) who gave a recital in St. Carthage's Cathedral on Sunday, June 4 in Lismore. The 2018 recepient is pianist Máire Carroll who won the RDS Music Bursary in 2012.

Previous RDS Music Bursary winners

For further information please contact:

Dara O'Leary
RDS Arts Programme Manager
Dublin 4
Tel: +353 (0) 1 240 7255
Email: arts@rds.ie

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